"We're still at war, Plissken. We need him alive."

"I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president."

Archive for the ‘Blog Post (short for weblog)’ Category

New Patreon exclusive: DEATH WISH/DEATH SENTENCE books vs. movies

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Hello friends. For those of you who support me on Patreon (or want to start) I’ve posted a new bonus piece over there. This is another one from the aborted 2008 book project that would’ve had a section on the literary roots of action cinema. It compares Brian Garfield’s books Death Wish and Death Sentence with Michael Winner’s DEATH WISH and DEATH WISH II and James Wan’s DEATH SENTENCE. If you’re interested in that sort of thing.

If not, Patreon is also where you’ll find exclusive reviews of the entire TWILIGHT saga, tie-ins to the HIGHLANDERLAND review series, pieces on FIRST BLOOD and Rambo: The Force of Freedom, and more. (A couple more. I post the vast majority of my stuff here at outlawvern.com for free. I never said I was a businessman.)

Either way, I’ll have another Summer of 1985 review here on Monday. Have a good weekend (if there even is such a thing anymore)!


Profiles in Badass #1: BRUCE LEE

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Late last year there was this new entertainment websight or lifestyle brand or whatever that was kind enough to recruit me for a bi-weekly column about the films of badass cinema. After twelve installments I decided to quit, and a couple weeks later they closed up shop, because what would be the point of doing it without my column, and/or there was an unrelated scandal involving the company that owned them. But they were nice enough to give the writers permission to put up our pieces on our own blogs and what not.

Meanwhile, the Criterion Collection is on this very day releasing a Bruce Lee box set. And I believe they will accomplish something I’ve been trying to do for years now: get people to watch all the Bruce Lee movies. In fact, that was the goal of my first Profiles in Badass column. So for those of you who didn’t go through the Rebeller pay wall to read it back in January I am proud to present column #1 to you absolutely free of charge and without any corny anti-PC stuff next to it.


Everyone knows who Bruce Lee is. Kind of. They know the flying kick guy on the posters, the philosophical inspirational quotes guy, the nunchaku guy, the DJ on Tony Stark’s t-shirt. Maybe they’ve even seen Enter the Dragon, or heard about Lee’s concept of “using no way as way” being a precursor to today’s mixed martial arts, but I think that’s as far as it goes for many.

It doesn’t have to be that way! I believe many people who are only familiar with the idea of Bruce Lee would enjoy finally sitting down and watching his movies. And it’s an easy fix. Though the multitude of alternate titles, documentaries, lookalikes and posthumous-footage-extrapolations could give the impression that it’s an inaccessible “Where do I even start?” body of work like Sun Ra or Frank Zappa or somebody, set aside his work as a child actor and his TV appearances and there are really only 4 1/2 true Bruce Lee films. I know you watch more than that in a weekend when a new season of a streaming show drops. You can do this! Let me guide you.


(read the rest of this shit…)

New Patreon bonus: FIRST BLOOD book vs. movie comparison

Friday, June 26th, 2020

As I’ve mentioned before, I feel a little weird about promoting my Patreon during These Uncertain Times™. I guess I always feel weird about it. But the fact is your generous, totally optional support is helping me get through this, it’s so much better than having to freelance for morally questionable outlets, and I want to show my gratitude. So what I have here is a rough draft I dug up from 2008 when I was trying to write a follow-up to Seagalogy. If you’re interested in how the Stallone classic FIRST BLOOD differs from the David Morrell book it’s based on, here you go! (spoilers for both, of course)

Thanks again.



I ended my column

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

In case anybody wonders, I decided to stop writing my column for Rebeller. I was never comfortable with what I saw as a trollish, anti-PC identity to the brand, and it just got to be too much stress worrying how my association with that reflected on my values and reputation.

I was probly fooling myself thinking I could distance myself from all that. But I’m proud of the twelve columns I wrote for them. I really feel like I stepped up, and I hoped that by writing honestly I could even expose the right wing audience they seemed to be courting to a few perspectives they wouldn’t see in their usual media. Also I didn’t want to cede my favorite type of movies to them. But some of the sight’s provocations made them/us seem like such jerks that it kind of painted me into a corner. I didn’t feel I could write the next column I had planned (about Amy Johnston) because the whole point was to bring attention to work I want more people to know about, and right now it feels like negative attention to be profiled on Rebeller.

For what it’s worth, editor Sonny Bunch was always nice to me, never questioned any lefty stuff in my columns, and seems to sincerely want to evolve Rebeller into something less divisive. I just think the whole thing is built on the Cinestate approach of provoking offense and then explaining why actually if you think about it maybe it’s not offensive. That’s not my thing.

I’ll be okay financially, but it’s a blow to my pride, because between the Patreon and the column I was finally making half of my income from writing. On the positive side, it frees up more time to work on the reviews here. Maybe I can do some exclusives for the Patreon – I’ve been hesitant to promote it during These Uncertain Times, but I want to show my gratitude to the people who do support it.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now. Sorry if this is disappointing to anyone, and thanks for not judging me for writing it in the first place. (Unless you did. That’s fine too.)

I will continue to subscribe to Fangoria.

thanks friends,


I was on Zebras in America again

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

My podcast pals Marcus and Scott had me on Zebras in America again. It’s just a freeform conversation, but I prepared notes, which I think helped. I’m not gonna claim I didn’t say anything embarrassing, but I had fun talking to them again. I remember we discussed EXTRACTION and the phenomenon of straight-to-Netflix action movies, the power of Scott Adkins, and I think I did a good job plugging my upcoming book at the end. I did forget to tell them that I watched ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE after Scott recommended it last time I was on. Also I should’ve brought up MASTER Z as a followup to our previous Dave Bautista discssion. Maybe another time.

LISTEN HERE if you choose

So long, Jan

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

I just got the sad news that a reader I had been corresponding with for many years passed away earlier this month. Jan first wrote to me in 2009 to correct me for using the term “Helsinki Syndrome” instead of “Stockholm Syndrome.” It was a genuine mistake and not an intentional DIE HARD reference. I’m glad I did it, or maybe I never would’ve heard from him. Or maybe I would’ve, because the next time was to correct an error about Sven-Ole Thorsen.

He introduced himself as an MD and “a Swede currently residing in Denmark.” Over the years the corrections turned into updates about movies he had seen, what he was planning to see, what he was not planning to see, things he had read about Seattle or the American political situation. He worried about the encroaching fascism he saw here. And he was full of movie and TV recommendations, tidbits from Q&As, links to interviews.

I got to know him as very cantankerous and opinionated, sometimes in a hilarious way. He had numerous actors he mysteriously hated and refused to see the films of. One of them was Charlize Theron(!), so I could not get him to watch FURY ROAD (!!), which I often teased him about.

I sometimes wondered why he liked me so much, because he seemed to disagree with me more often than not. He seemed more excited when I wrote about movies from the ’50s or ’60s, but he couldn’t have been a traditional snob – he knew me from Ain’t It Cool and Seagalogy. He was very generous, making surprisingly large donations to my Paypal account, sending me his Christmas mix CDs every year (he made covers for them and everything), sending me a copy of WILD BILL to force me to watch it. Which I then somehow lost. But I did watch it and let him know my thoughts.

I feel terrible that I hadn’t gotten back to him in a while. The last thing he wrote to me was that he had seen all of Michael Bay’s films theatrically except for THE ISLAND (because he hated Ewan McGregor), and he was not going to watch 6 UNDERGROUND (because he hated Ryan Reynolds). “But during the last two Transformers films I sat in the theater and asked myself: What the fuck am I doing here…”

Knowing now that he was going through some shit at that time I appreciate even more that he had a light moment to tell me that. At least once he said he would visit Seattle some day and give me a call. Wish that would’ve happened. I bet getting a drink with him would’ve been awkward and funny and great.

He was a good guy. I’m really gonna miss him. So long, buddy. The only way I know how to pay tribute is to point everyone to what I wrote about FORTY GUNS after Jan’s repeated pleading. It was a great recommendation and I’m so glad he liked the review (despite several corrections).


Potpourri: Lockdown

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020
Scorpion wears a mask and doesn’t get germs on his hands

Hello, friends! Shit is crazy right now. I hope everybody is looking after their health and sanity. I know many, most, maybe all of us are or will soon be spending more time inside at home, in many cases away from friends and family. But I consider you all friends and family, so I thought it would be a good time to bring back one of these threads where everybody talks about whatever-the-fuck. Updates on your local situations, what you’ve been watching, random escapist nonsense, whatever.

Somehow while mostly staying in I’ve still gotten behind in my writing. That will change soon. As of Monday I’m still working a day job, but shifting to a different phase with drastically fewer hours. That’s what I want, so I can stay indoors for now and not have to take the bus as much. They’ve been mostly empty, but I don’t need that stress. I’m not sure how long even that will last, because there’s been pressure on our governor to add more severe measures to keep people home.

I appreciate everybody commenting on old reviews of the things you’ve been watching, but if none of those apply, here’s a good place to congregate (six feet apart, please).

Oscar thoughts and my favorites of 2019

Friday, February 7th, 2020

The Oscars are this Sunday. This is my traditional pre-Oscars post, and also my best of 2019 post. So there will be a high volume of opinions, recommendations and review links in this one.

Once again I saw all the best picture nominees. They were all things I had already seen or was planning to see, so they didn’t broaden my horizons at all. No homework necessary. I reviewed all of them:


I think this is a better than average batch, with almost none that could be considered “Oscar bait.” Many years there’s a nominee I hate (VICE, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY) or I think is way too mediocre and bland to belong in there (DARKEST HOUR), and sometimes most people disagree with me and those end up winning (ARGO, SPOTLIGHT, THE KING’S SPEECH). This year there are enough truly great ones that I have a hard time ranking them (maybe something like ONCE UPON A TIME …IN HOLLYWOOD, PARASITE, JOJO RABBIT, LITTLE WOMEN, THE IRISHMAN and MARRIAGE STORY for the top slots), and the only one I kind of dislike (JOKER) is at least a well-made and unusual movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

New column: Profiles in Bad-Ass

Friday, December 20th, 2019

Okay, how should I explain this? Here goes.

I have a new bi-weekly column called Profiles in Bad-Ass on the freshly launched websight REBELLER. The first one is up and it’s trying to address something that I’m sure you know is important to me: that everybody knows who Bruce Lee is but many haven’t experienced the joy of actually sitting down and watching his movies.

In future installments I plan to provide similar overviews of the work of icons from different eras of badass cinema, the types of things I’ve written about extensively here, now in a more generalized and concise format to spread the good word to other corners.

I guess it won’t be the audience I thought, because I didn’t realize it would be behind a paywall. You have to sign up and then you can get 3 free articles a month, or pay $20.20 for a year of access to everything. I feel a little weird about that but it makes sense – we’ve seen that the high profile websights that actually pay their writers can’t sustain on popup ads. Also, I once had a somewhat similar column in a print magazine called Clint, and somebody would’ve had to get a much more expensive subscription to read all of those. (read the rest of this shit…)

New essay on Polygon: The brilliance of Wesley Snipes as Blade

Friday, November 29th, 2019

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this to you guys before, but I think Wesley Snipes is really good as the character of “Blade” in the movie BLADE and also the movie BLADE II and even the movie BLADE’S TRINITY. On the occasion of the character’s impending arrival in the MCU (Marvel’s Cinematical Universe), but now played by a different guy, the websight Polygon recruited me to put into words why Wesley’s version will be hard to match.